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Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether

The time has come to put together a few mini reviews of some books I’ve read recently! Today I’ve got a novella, a Stephanie Plum novel, and a DNF “report” (since I don’t feel I read enough to merit an actual review). As usual, I just wanted to share some quick thoughts since these aren’t quite long enough for full reviews!


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: The Audition (Seraphina #0.5) by Rachel Hartman
Publishing Info: June 19, 2012 by Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 25, 2015
Related Posts: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

The Audition is a free prequel to Seraphina available online. It takes place a few weeks prior to Seraphina, covering Seraphina Dombegh's audition to become Viridius's assistant and thus Glisselda's music tutor.

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I really just adored SERAPHINA so I was delighted to see THE AUDITION in the end of my book when I finished! I really appreciated this story because it was an extra glimpse at the friendship that I grew to love between Seraphina and Glisselda. I always love little snippets that allow me to get to know the characters more that I’ve already come to know and love.

The story wasn’t really much but I loved every little bit of it. Glisselda is the same opinionated and strong-willed girl she always is and it’s really fun to see how her little pranks in THE AUDITION sort of shape her and prepare her to become the political schemer that I see her becoming in SERAPHINA and hopefully in future books.


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: January 6, 2009 by Macmillan
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 28, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25)

Evanovich fans rejoice! Stephanie Plum is back in town, along with her sidekick Lula, her Grandma Mazur, and an ever-widening cast of freaks, criminals, deranged felons, and lunatics looking for love. And just when Stephanie thinks her life can't get any more complicated, in walks the mysterious Diesel. A man who seems to show up at the most inconvenient moments. This time, he's the instigator for Stephanie's new adventure, which involves camping in the Pine Barrens with Lula, and perhaps even a sighting of the Jersey Devil...so hang on for a Stephanie Plum novel that is sure to send chills up your spine--it gives new meaning to the words hilarious, and "spooky."

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I’ve read every Stephanie Plum book there is so far but I have to admit that they ARE getting a bit silly. This “Between the Novels” book was supposed to come before 15 but because the audio wasn’t available, I read FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN first and then came back to this one (since I know the in-betweens really don’t follow the main plot much anyway).

I’m actually glad I read FIFTEEN first. PLUM SPOOKY was… a bit too much. Monkeys, magic, vampires, head cases… Oy vey. (Honestly it was the monkeys that did me in. Monkeys that act like humans? Nah. No thanks.) I always love stories with these characters and Stephanie still cracks me up but sometimes the ploys for laughs are just too silly and this book actually turned me off a bit. Will I keep reading them? Yes. I still own the rest of the novels in paperback (they were one of my first book collections aside from Harry Potter that I actually kept and owned and took the time to keep purchasing) and Stephanie Plum will always be a friend of mine! I just hope they don’t get TOO much sillier. I can handle wacky and fun but let’s keep it a tad realistic, huh?


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: Tether (Many-Worlds Trilogy #2) by Anna Jarzab
Publishing Info: March 10, 2015 by Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 10, 2015 | DNF at approx. 33%
Related Posts: Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1)

Tether, the sequel to Tandem, continues the captivating tale of rebellion and romance that spans parallel worlds.
Everything repeats.
Sasha expected things to go back to normal once she got back on Earth. But now that she knows parallel worlds are real, and that an alternate version of herself exists in a world called Aurora, her old life no longer seems to make sense . . . and her heart breaks daily for Thomas, the boy she left behind. Troubled by mysterious, often terrifying visions and the echoes of a self she was just beginning to discover, Sasha makes the difficult decision to journey once more through the tandem.
Thomas is waiting for her on the other side, and so is strange, otherworldly Selene, Sasha’s analog from a third universe. Sasha, Selene, and their other analog, Juliana, have a joint destiny, and a new remarkable power, one that could mean salvation for Selene’s dying planet. With Thomas’s help, Sasha and Selene search for the missing Juliana. But even if they can locate her, is Sasha willing to turn her back on love to pursue a fate she’s not sure she believes in?

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“Everything repeats.” Oh boy, did it feel like book one repeating in so many ways… Firstly, I had some issues when I started TANDEM last year. I had a really hard time getting into it, keeping the worlds straight, and getting a grip on the characters. I finally got into the book maybe halfway through so I was hoping to pick up with TETHER where I left off in TANDEM but it sort of felt like starting all over again. I was once again lost and the worlds felt foggy. Sasha felt flat. I felt very bored, spending over 100 pages of set-up trying to get into the book and it just wasn’t happening.

A third analog is introduced in this book and I was just ugh, not a fan. She really felt like Juliana Part II and didn’t feel unique at all. I was still trying to spend time getting to know Sasha and Juliana because it was a struggle in TANDEM and here comes another character who is… just like them. Things didn’t really pick up within 100 pages and I put the book down about a month before I DNFed to see if the desire came back to read it and I found I just didn’t care how it ended. It was time to call it a day and quit this series which was sad because I LOVE parallel universe books. This one just really didn’t feel quite developed.

Seraphina (Seraphina #1) – Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (Seraphina #1) – Rachel HartmanTitle: Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman
Publishing Info: July 10, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift from Alyssa
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 23, 2015
Related Posts: Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, The Audition (Seraphina #0.5)

     Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
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My history with SERAPHINA goes all the way back to… oh, maybe 2013. I borrowed the book from the library, seeing all of the wonderful reviews it was getting, and just never made it around to reading it before I had to return it. Then my lovely BFF Alyssa bought the book for me for Christmas in 2013 and I FINALLY read it this year right before book two, SHADOW SCALE, came out so I could keep the story fresh in my mind before diving in! Needless to say, the anticipation has been great but I’m so happy that this book didn’t fall victim to any hype that I had perceived in my mind!

SERAPHINA was such a delight. Right away, it was easy to fall into the story and I think most of that has to do with Rachel Hartman’s writing style. I can’t say that the book was similar to SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo but there was something about Rachel Hartman’s writing style that brought me back to The Grisha Trilogy and it felt like home again. I’ll admit that it was a bit intimidating to start SERAPHINA, coming in at just under 500 pages, but I never once felt like the book was cumbersome to read — in fact, it was just the opposite. It may have taken me a bit longer than usual to complete due to length, but I was always wholly interested and utterly captivated by Rachel Hartman’s story-telling, world-building, and wonderful characters.

I’m actually glad I waited until now to read SERAPHINA. I wasn’t always a fantasy fan and I had a hard time finding which fantasy books were “right” for me. I had actually picked up Sarah J. Maas’ THRONE OF GLASS at the same time I had borrowed SERAPHINA from the library and actually returned it without finishing it because I just wasn’t clicking with it and SERAPHINA could have suffered the same fate at that time if I had had the time to try it. Now that I have some more fantasy books under my belt (and am, in fact, in love with them), this book just really clicked with my current reading tastes and bookish fascinations. Dragon-human hybrids?! I honestly wouldn’t have imagined liking that a couple years ago but it just worked so well in this book and I’m glad I read it at the right point in my life!

Everything about this book was just wonderful. I immediately got along with Seraphina herself and found her to be an interesting, intelligent, and fierce heroine. I loved her journey throughout this book and the things she not only learned about herself but also the people who surround her. It was excellent to see so many layers of the various characters and how as the reader discovers each new layer, a new piece of the plot reveals itself as well — and there were so many wonderful pieces to discover! SERAPHINA is complete with intrigue, secrets, politics, dragons, friendship, respect, and even a little bit of romance. The book also really stuck in my mind which is a fantastic indicator that I loved it considering I have terrible reading recollection and can’t even remember details about my favorite books (seriously. It’s the worst. I think I have way better long-term memory than short-term so this is another reason why I re-read things)!

SERAPHINA was just a total hit for me. I’m really glad I read it so close to the release of SHADOW SCALE so I can start that one very, very soon! I’m a huge fan of this book and it also reminded me of a few other books that I truly loved while at the same time remaining so unique. It’s a bit on the heftier side as far as page count goes but every one of those pages it worth it!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Seraphina GR updates

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Seraphina // Character Obsessions: Music, secrets, scales, family.
I loved Seraphina. I just loved her overall personality and I just REALLY got along with her as a character. It was just so lovely. I love that she’s brave but also she’s afraid and has her own secrets to keep. I loved her friendships and how she approaches relationships. All around, she’s totally my kind of girl.
Glisselda // Character Obsessions: Mischief, fun, friendships, politics.
This character was just so brilliantly crafted. She’s kind of a brat sometimes and I really expcted her to be a mean girl but she’s really just very much a go-getter. She knows what she wants and doesn’t give the time of day (or actively tries to spoil) what she’s not interested in but that doesn’t mean she’s mean-spirited. I actually really loved her spunk and the surprising friendship (well surprising to me) with Seraphina.

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Kept Me Hooked On: DRAGONS. Okay, I like the concept of dragons but they’re surprisingly absent in my reading history. Knowing my trepidation for what I like to call “creature fantasy” (non-humans being the main characters or the majority of the characters), I’m always a teensy bit afraid of the role dragons will play in a book. Usually it’s totally awesome (A Song of Ice and Fire, an obvious example) but naturally I was afraid about dragon/human hybrids. Eeeek. “Creature fantasy”, right? But it totally worked! I’m not sure if this concept is growing on me or if it was just Rachel Hartman’s awesome writing — maybe both — but I’m glad it worked out awesome!
Left Me Wanting More: Romance? I mean, I really loved everything about this book. It was a 4.5 star read for me and I can’t ask much more from a book! I actually really did like that the romance wasn’t a main plot point. It was there to keep our hearts fluttering and I loved the banter between Seraphina and Kiggs but I also love that it wasn’t rushed or forced.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

This is was so, so great. I’m so glad I finally read this book (thanks to Alyssa for buying it for me!) and I cannot wait to read SHADOW SCALE!

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BOOKS LIKE SERAPHINA

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE   GRACELING